Abraham Lincoln - Part 2

Bust of Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater

The Civil War was not the first type of war like this in the history of the world.  On the contrary, it was but one in a long history of civil wars fought. Look up any country, and you will find a civil war.  BUT, this was the first one for the United States of America. In many other countries, the war changed those countries, bringing in new leaders. In our history, one leader stood tall - Abraham Lincoln.  With the help of his generals, he brought a severed country back together again.

So, who were these generals who helped win this war?

Most of us remember the last one - Ulysses S. Grant, who would go on to become president. Here are some of the other generals who helped win countless battles or advised Lincoln on strategies that helped win battles and eventually win the war.

Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott and his "Anaconda Plan" - also served the US during the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Black Hawk War, and the Seminole War. He was given a brevet promotion in 1856, the 1st American since George Washington to ever get the award. His "Anaconda Plan" helped defeat the Confederacy by blockading major ports throughout the South during the war. He was 74 years old when the Civil War broke out.

Irwin McDowell

Irwin McDowell - was the commander during the defeat of Bull Run. He became brigadier general and was given command of the Army of Northeastern Virginia. His army was forced to remain in Washington, DC, to defend the city, even though at times, he was going to be called away to assist other battles. The fear of DC being attacked, kept him stationed there.

George McClellan

George McClellan - was briefly the general-in-chief of the Union Army.  He helped raise a well organized and trained army. His failure was mainly in overestimating the strength of the Confederate troops. He failed to seize Richmond when he could. But, by the same token, he performed well at Antietam and kept Lee from invading Maryland.

John Pope

John Pope - served in the Mexican-American War, but also helped survey land for the Transcontinental Railroad. He had some success on the Western front so Lincoln brought him East to lead the Army of Virginia. At the Second Bull Run, he was routed but the defeat was blamed on Brig. General Porter. After that, he was sent to Minnesota for the Dakota War of 1862.

Ambrose Burnside

Ambrose Burnside - is the owner of the "sideburns" which is a play on his name. He served in the Mexican-American War before fighting Native Americans on the western front. The inventor of the Burnside carbine, a rifle, his company was enlisted to help equip the army. While fighting in North Carolina, he succeeded in launching an amphibious campaign that closed over 80% of the sea coast to shipping. He did not perform well at Antietam or Fredericksburg. Both assaults were losses, and he resigned, being replaced by Hooker. Lincoln kept him on but put him on several western campaigns, where he performed with mixed results.

Joseph Hooker

Joseph Hooker - served in the Mexican-American War and the Seminole War. He proved aggressive during the Battle of Williamsburg and was made Major General. He was wounded at the Battle of Antietam. He was defeated at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Later he was given command of the Army of the Potomac. He had an important win at the Battle of Lookout Mountain. His nickname was "Fighting Joe".

George Meade

George Meade - served during the Mexican-American War and the Seminole War. He is best known for his victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. Many felt he should have pursued Lee after the battle, thinking the war would have ended much sooner if he had. he was injured in the arm, back, and side. He replaced Hooker at the Battle of Antietam, but was also wounded in the thigh.

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant - served in the Mexican-American War, then resigned to try to make a living in Galena, Illinois. When the Civil War broke out, he trained soldiers in Cairo, Illinois before fighting in the western campaign. He was aggressive and seized Kentucky and Tennessee. He fought and defeated the Confederates in Vicksburg gaining control of the Mississippi River. Lincoln gave him command of the Union Army and he confronted Lee several times.  After winning Petersburg, his army captured Richmond.  Lee surrendered to him in April of 1865. He would become the 18th president of the US.

The generals mentioned are just some of the men who were instrumental in helping the Union defeat the Confederacy during the Civil War. Some were more effective than others. Some helped move the campaigns along and others caused delays that lengthened the war unnecessarily.  Through it all, Lincoln had to rely on his own advisors.  Just like in our own lives, we receive both good and bad advice. Lincoln was heavily criticized for giving Grant the job because of his aggressive nature, and yet if he had not, the war could have gone on for many more years, or worse - the war could have severed the country permanently.

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